The tasting is going to be here LIVE from 8 pm. For the moment here is some background on the wines.
Let’s first look at the grape variety. I have got the below article from wine searcher (https://www.wine-searcher.com/grape-520-verdelho)…
“Verdelho is a classic grape variety associated with the fortified wines of Madeira , off the coast of Portugal. It was the most planted grape variety there in the 19th Century, but has since lost ground to the more reliable Tinta Negra Mole . Today, it is still grown in Europe, but is more prominent in Australia and the Americas, where it is usually used to make dry white wines.
The aromatic profile of Verdelho is crisp, sometimes with leafy or spicy accents. It typically makes rich wine in the Old World , with ripe apricot and stonefruit aromas, while in Australia it is more reminiscent of citrus and tropical fruits.
In Madeira, Verdelho was historically used to make an oxidized white wine, although the introduction of phylloxera in the 1860s had a devastating effect on the island’s wine industry. A lot of the Verdelho vineyards were replaced with Tinta Negra Mole, although Verdelho fared better than many of Madeira’s other historical grape varieties. However, wines made from Tinta Negra Mole were still labeled as Madeira Verdelho until 1993, when legislation was introduced stipulating that any wines stating a grape variety on the label must contain at least 85 percent of that variety. This has considerably reduced the number of Madeira Verdelho wines in the market.
Australia has been making Verdelho-style wines since the 1820s. There, it has a reputation as a simple, fruit-forward wine with good acidity and freshness. There is some regional difference – Western Australia is known for producing Verdelho wines with honeysuckle and lime-cordial flavors, while South Australian examples tend to be more tropical. Verdelho from New South Wales has a spicy character, often showing pear and white pepper notes similar to, but less intense than, Grüner Veltliner .
Godello , a grape variety grown widely in Spain and on the Portuguese mainland, is sometimes known as Verdello. Recent tests have shown that this is a separate grape variety.
Synonyms include: Verdelho Pico, Verdelho Branco.” (this quote within a quote is from the Berry Bros website – “Verdelho should not be confused with the Italian grape Verdello and the Verdejo white grape grown in Spain (Rueda DO in particular”)
“Food matches for Verdelho include:
- Fish tacos with cilantro (dry)
- Seared prawns with chili (dry)”
First up - Tyrrell’s Old Winery Hunter Valley Verdelho 2018 ( https://www.thewinesociety.com/shop/ProductDetail.aspx?pd=AU21771 )
Our Australian bottle is from the Hunter Valley in New South Wales (remember from above… “ Verdelho from New South Wales has a spicy character, often showing pear and white pepper notes similar to, but less intense than, Grüner Veltliner .”) .
The family and their phylosophy – from the winery website ( https://www.tyrrells.com.au/story/philosophy-environment/ )
My great grandfather arrived in Pokolbin in 1858 and took up a concessional allotment of 320 acres. This marks the start of over 160 years of the Tyrrell’s being a constant in both the Hunter Valley and Australian wine industries. The motto he brought with him from England “ nothing is great unless it is good”, remains as a guiding philosophy of what we have been, what we are and what we will be in the future.
The past 60 years has been an era of growth and innovation. We have purchased, or leased many of the great vineyard blocks of the Hunter, introduced chardonnay and pinot noir to the modern Australian wine industry and have been lucky enough to work with Hunter semillon – one of the truly unique wines of the world. Hunter semillon has been the obsession of my generation and it is wonderful to now see international acceptance of the greatness and unique quality of this wine.
When I joined the business full time in 1974, we were a small winery with 95% of the business being at Cellar Door and having made three export sales; one each to the USA, UK and Sweden. Today, we are a medium sized family business with vineyards in the Hunter Valley and Heathcote, and export to more than 50 countries around the world.
The two great developments of the last 20 years have been the selection of the land for our vineyard in Heathcote in Victoria; an area which, I believe, will join the front rank of great quality region in Australia. In the past four years, we have identified the seven vineyard blocks that we have which are greater than 100 years old and when the quality was good enough, produced and bottled them as stand alone wines. These are amongst the rarest vineyards in the world.
It is the wish of the current generation that the family goes on for at least another 150 years. Without family business our economy would lack length of vision for the future and the long term commitment to quality and innovation.
We are proud to be a member of the Australia’s First Families of Wine as we all share the same long term vision of the Australian wine industry.” ( M. Bruce Tyrrell AM - Managing Director)
The Vineyard location and Winemaking
This from the Berry Bros & Rudd website ( https://www.bbr.com/region-97-hunter-valley ) “The 3,000-hectare Hunter Valley is Australia’s oldest viticultural area. Located inland from Newcastle in New South Wales, bordering Mudgee to the west, the region was built not on gold but coal in the late 18th century; the Hunter Valley Vineyard Association (HVVA) was founded in 1847. Depression followed until the red wine boom of the 1960s and 1970s, even if it was Murray Tyrrell’s Chardonnay wines that proved the most successful.
The region’s loamy vineyards are located at between 100 and 240 metres above sea level. The warm to hot sub-humid climate makes rot an issue. Sémillon (often at circa 11 percent ABV) and Shiraz are favoured. The finest Sémillon should have an almost limey, hay-like purity.
Recommended producers: Brokenwood, Tyrrell’s and Molly Morgan”
This from the tasting notes on the winery website (https://www.tyrrells.com.au/files/2012/08/Old-Winery-Verdelho-TN.pdf) “The verdelho grapes for this wine were harvested from selected vineyards within the Hunter Valley, and the resulting free-run juice was cool-fermented to retain its inherent fragrant qualities. A small amount of residual sugar was left in the wine for added complexity and fruit weight. Soon after fermentation the finished wine was fined, filtered and bottled.”
Second up - Vasco and The Explorers Verdelho, Western Cape 2018 ( https://www.thewinesociety.com/shop/ProductDetail.aspx?pd=SA14161 )
There is precious little available of this wine. Best bit of background info is on The Wine Society’s website linked above and also worth reading the back label.
The wine is made by Nederburg, if you fancy hearing their story… head for their website (https://nederburg.com/#one-of-a-kind). Our wine is not mentioned on the website.